2014 Photography Awards: Lasting Impressions

First Place: Ronald OlsenRonald Olsen of Coventry, Rhode Island, won first prize in the 2013 photography awards for his night view of a steam locomotive working inside a steel mill in China. The theme was “creative images.”

The Center’s 2014 John E. Gruber Creative Photography Awards Program theme has been announced as “Lasting Impressions,” emphasizing memorable images. The Center desires photographs that leave lasting impressions, photography worthy of display on a living room wall or even a museum.

Submissions may consist of up to five images, either individual photographs or a grouping or sequence. No restrictions apply to subject, style, or technique, but the photographs should be rail-related and made since December 31, 2009. Digital editing (such as with Adobe PhotoShop) is acceptable but entrants should include this detail in their descriptions of the photographs so as not to misrepresent an image’s content. The contest is not specifying any one particular style, genre or technique. Very likely your best photographs are those you remember most, or are most remembered by those to whom you have shown your work. The sky is the limit, especially if the light is interesting.

Deadline: October 15, 2014
Winners announced: December 1, 2014
Submit to: award [at] railphoto-art [dot] org
Format: Full-size JPEG files at “high” or “maximum” quality setting
Publication: Railroad Heritage and Railfan & Railroad
Exhibition: California State Railroad Museum
First Prize: 13×19 printer from Canon and $500
Second Prize: $300
Third Prize: $200

Like a Mushroom, Conversations Can’t Stop Growing

Ron Flanary and Mike DannemanRon Flanary (left) and Mike Danneman entertained and enlightened with their discussion of railroad photography and painting at Conversations 2014. Photograph by Henry A. Koshollek.

In the twelve years the Center has offered Conversations about Photography, it has grown from one day to three. And now, in 2014, it has posted attendance records for the third year in a row. The event has become the one of most important in the world for railroad photographers, and advance registration has become a necessity. So make plans now to attend the 2015 Conversations, April 10-12 at Lake Forest College, whose campus on Lake Michigan is a treat in spring weather. Comments about the 2014 event were overwhelmingly positive. Presentations, arrangements, and a terrific Sunday morning at the Chicago History Museum for a tour of Railroaders—all received bravos. Take a look at the visual record courtesy of photographer Henry A. Koshollek.

2014 Conference Sold-Out

The 2014 Conversations about Photography conference is sold-out. No tickets will be available at the door. The 2015 conference will be held April 10–12 on the campus of Lake Forest College. Tickets for the 2015 conference will go on sale in early January. We hope to see you there!

Conference Raffles: Plowden and Shaughnessy

2014 Raffles: David Plowden and Jim Shaughnessy
Framed photographs by David Plowden (left) and Jim Shaughnessy will be raffled at Conversations about Photography this year. The drawing for Shaughnessy’s print will be held Friday evening. Plowden himself will draw the winning ticket for his print at the end of Saturday’s presentations. Please note that you must be present to win.

Shaughnessy Print Raffle


Plowden Print Raffle

Jim Shaughnessy’s print shows Canadian Pacific Railway 4-6-2 steam locomotive no. 1257 stopping in Sherbrooke, Quebec, in 1957 with local passenger train no. 40. The 11×14 silver gelatin print was made by the photographer and is matted and framed in black metal to 20×24 inches.

“Freight train, west of Havre, Montana,” is one of Plowden’s signature railroad photographs—and one of his signature photographs of all time. The 1968 view shows boxcars in a Great Northern Railway train silhouetted against a dramatic sky with wheat fields in the foreground and a single car with an open door perfectly positioned near the right edge of the frame. The archival inkjet print is 11×14 inches and made by the photographer, matted and framed in black metal to 20×24 inches.

Tickets for each raffle are $10 each, $25 for three, $40 for five. You may purchase them online or at the conference. Please note that you must be present to win.

Print Program

You can also purchase limited edition prints by Victor Hand and Mitch Markovitz both online and at the 2014 conference via the Center’s Print Program.

Expanding Scholarship Program

Bluefield, West Virginia, by Samuel PhillipsNorfolk Southern’s former Norfolk & Western yard and coaling tower in Bluefield, West Virginia. Photograph by Samuel Phillips, one of four docent scholarship recipients selected for the Center’s 2014 conference.

Four young photographers will attend Conversations about Photography this year on all-expenses-paid docent scholarships. High interest and strong support from the conference’s growing number of patrons allowed the Center to double the number of 2013 scholarships.

This year’s winners are James Edgar, Johnson City, Tennessee; Jonathan Lee, Chicago; Amanda Oakes, Binghamton, New York, and Samuel Phillips, Radford, Virginia. Edgar and Lee are both photography students in college. Oakes has a lifelong photography interest; her fascination with trains began in 2010 and has already led to publications and work for Canadian Pacific. Phillips is still in high school but already has published extensively in Trains and other magazines.

As docents, the scholarship recipients will attend the entire conference and assist the Center’s staff members and volunteers throughout the weekend. “The conference planning committee was impressed by the high caliber of work that all four of the recipients submitted,” said Scott Lothes, the Center’s president and executive director. “We look forward to having them join us, and we thank the conference’s many patrons for making these awards possible.”